Is ESPN killing tennis in the U.S.? - MensTennisForums.com

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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-26-2004, 01:59 AM Thread Starter
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Is ESPN killing tennis in the U.S.?

I'm writing a paper about this for a class. What does everyone think? I don't know if there have been other threads about this. If there have been, it would be much appreciated if you could direct me to them!

Here's what I think:
ESPN is obviously very biased towards American players (from exclusive coverage of Americans to bias from commentators). The producers have been confronted about this, but their argument is that American viewers are more likely to watch tennis if ESPN shows players the average American recognize (basically Andy Roddick, Serena Williams, and Andre Agassi along with a few others). But there seems to be a vicious cycle here. If ESPN only shows American players, the average American viewer will never be introduced to foreign players. So how can Americans become interested in other players?
The solution is for ESPN to break this cycle by showing intriguing matches, not just flashy Americans. Most of the tennis coverage is at odd hours anyway, so most likely, the people tuning in are REAL tennis fans, that want to see a variety of the top players. But ESPN refuses to do this.
The last thing I want to point out is that these flashy Americans often have the least interesting games. Roddick and Serena have a common strategy: hit the ball as hard as possible. This leads to very boring matches. With players like Federer and Henin, for example, there is a lot more great shot-making and athleticism. I think both the casual tennis fan and the hard-core tennis fanatic would rather see this than Roddick or Serena bludgeoning the ball.

Sorry if this is really long, but I really want to know what other people think about this topic.

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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-26-2004, 02:00 AM
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Re: Is ESPN killing tennis in the U.S.?

Yes, and I've been saying that for years

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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-26-2004, 02:07 AM
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Re: Is ESPN killing tennis in the U.S.?

the problem IMO is not just ESPN but also the sponsors of these programs. the sponsors have products to sell -- and a product sells better when exposed to a larger market. let's say Nike decides to pick up the tab (or the bulk of it anyway) for the USO. they want to sell their products but they can't risk focusing on foreign faces when the audience/consumers are largely American and only familiar with Agassi, Duckboy, Serena et al. it's a vicious circle. but you can't blame ESPN for it all IMO.

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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-26-2004, 02:09 AM
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Re: Is ESPN killing tennis in the U.S.?

No, ESPN is not killing tennis in the U.S..

Simply, because they don't have to show as much tennis as they do. And if another channel bought it, there would be less hours shown... or if something like the Tennis Channel did, barely anyone would see it.

I agree that ESPN is alienating their fan base by only showing American players. But, that needs to change for the entire world. What does it matter what country a player is from? I don't care at all, and I don't know why others do.
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-26-2004, 02:40 AM
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Re: Is ESPN killing tennis in the U.S.?

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Originally Posted by Leena.
No, ESPN is not killing tennis in the U.S..

Simply, because they don't have to show as much tennis as they do. And if another channel bought it, there would be less hours shown... or if something like the Tennis Channel did, barely anyone would see it.

I agree that ESPN is alienating their fan base by only showing American players. But, that needs to change for the entire world. What does it matter what country a player is from? I don't care at all, and I don't know why others do.
Most true fans don't. But in terms of attracting the casual American fan, I don't think they're killing it. The way to attract that fan is by introducing them to someone like ANdy Roddick and Serena Williams and yelling in their face, "LOOK, THEY'RE AMERICAN!!! ROOT FOR THEM!! TUNE IN AND WATCH THEM!!!" And marketing them as much as possible, shoving them in front of cameras and in magazines and articles, putting them everywhere. By tuning into watch these players, more people will start noticing other players, like Federer, Moya, Safin...at least they're marketing someone. As long as tennis gets some attention in America, it's not horrible.

On a random note, I converted a gay guy to Moyaism.

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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-26-2004, 02:58 AM
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Re: Is ESPN killing tennis in the U.S.?

very possible

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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-26-2004, 03:11 AM
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Re: Is ESPN killing tennis in the U.S.?

No, just the reverse, tennis would probably be dead without ESPN. As if you know more about what the average viewer wants to see than ESPN does. What you are pissed about is that ESPN does not tailor its programmes to suit your taste. Well, too bad, ESPN is not on the air for your benefit alone.
Without ESPN all we would have are a few grand slam finals with Bud Collins running around in funny clothes, and lots of pre-filmed little pieces about various players, all getting in the way of actual tennis.
I can not imagine what class you are writing this paper for, but think you should have an F, just for the stupid title.

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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-26-2004, 03:16 AM
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Re: Is ESPN killing tennis in the U.S.?

Oh, I should have added, ESPN is airing the Davis Cup Final and guess what? - half the players they will show will be American!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Somebody should complain about that.

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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-26-2004, 03:18 AM
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Re: Is ESPN killing tennis in the U.S.?

I don't understand why tennis can't be shown more like golf is.

You don't see any less of Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Mike Weir, etc... just because they're not American. Golf also has a heavy country competition in the Ryder Cup, so there'd be reason for it. Nobody in the US cares about Davis Cup, and nobody besides Russia cares about Fed Cup.

It's not just with Americans, either... for example, USA's coverage of Srichaphan the last few years. Yes, he's a rare player from Thailand. It's a good thing that a tennis player comes from there. But, I really don't care. And, I don't see how the average fan will want to watch tennis more just because of where the players come from. Just show the sport, show the players, and good things will happen.
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-26-2004, 03:24 AM
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Re: Is ESPN killing tennis in the U.S.?

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Originally Posted by buddyholly
Oh, I should have added, ESPN is airing the Davis Cup Final and guess what? - half the players they will show will be American!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Somebody should complain about that.
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post #11 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-26-2004, 04:10 AM
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Re: Is ESPN killing tennis in the U.S.?

No, what's killing tennis is tennis. It's not violent enough. When are we going to see Hewitt throw blows at Roddick, then go after a fan when he's hit in the head with a water bottle (ie referencing last week's now infamous Pacers/Pistons game.)

There no hard foul in tennis, no sacking of the server, no blows to the head with a racquet. Plus, I truly believe that the younger generation thinks of tennis as a "gay" sport.

I don't know if it will ever revive it's popularity of the 1970s, unless we get James Blake and some new American faces to take over the top 5 spots. Roddick is too bland and not enough of a match for Roger.
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post #12 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-26-2004, 04:13 AM
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Re: Is ESPN killing tennis in the U.S.?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leena.
I don't understand why tennis can't be shown more like golf is.

You don't see any less of Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Mike Weir, etc... just because they're not American. Golf also has a heavy country competition in the Ryder Cup, so there'd be reason for it. Nobody in the US cares about Davis Cup, and nobody besides Russia cares about Fed Cup.

It's not just with Americans, either... for example, USA's coverage of Srichaphan the last few years. Yes, he's a rare player from Thailand. It's a good thing that a tennis player comes from there. But, I really don't care. And, I don't see how the average fan will want to watch tennis more just because of where the players come from. Just show the sport, show the players, and good things will happen.
Actually I read recently that golf's numbers have been declining even when Tiger was at the pillar of the sport. It's been rough with these faceless winners over the past two years.

Golf has been popular on tv because the Network executives can play it without being booed off the grounds
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post #13 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-26-2004, 04:50 AM
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Re: Is ESPN killing tennis in the U.S.?

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Originally Posted by buddyholly
Oh, I should have added, ESPN is airing the Davis Cup Final and guess what? - half the players they will show will be American!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Somebody should complain about that.
When is that coming on? I can't see it on their website.

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post #14 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-26-2004, 04:53 AM
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Re: Is ESPN killing tennis in the U.S.?

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Originally Posted by Tennis Fool
No, what's killing tennis is tennis. It's not violent enough. When are we going to see Hewitt throw blows at Roddick, then go after a fan when he's hit in the head with a water bottle (ie referencing last week's now infamous Pacers/Pistons game.)

There no hard foul in tennis, no sacking of the server, no blows to the head with a racquet. Plus, I truly believe that the younger generation thinks of tennis as a "gay" sport.

I don't know if it will ever revive it's popularity of the 1970s, unless we get James Blake and some new American faces to take over the top 5 spots. Roddick is too bland and not enough of a match for Roger.
Tennis would be funny if we removed all restrictions on behavior.

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post #15 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-26-2004, 12:35 PM
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Re: Is ESPN killing tennis in the U.S.?

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Originally Posted by liptea
When is that coming on? I can't see it on their website.
I went to TV listings at ESPN.com for 3-5 of December. It does not appear to be live, but never mind, just stay away from MTF for a couple of hours and it will seem like live. The doubles on Saturday is on ESPN2.
But ESPNdeportes does not seem to be covering it, so I have already bought a ticket to Miami for that weekend.

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